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Ambassador Rider Carlisle Daniel

Ambassador Profile: Carlisle Daniel

Shop Carlisle's top equipment and apparel picks HERE.

Name: Carlisle Daniel

Age: 34

Hometown: Portland, OR

Instagram: @gnarlyle

How many years have you been racing your bike? What got you started?

I started racing quite a few years ago, casually dabbling in some Fluidride Cup SuperD races but got more serious in 2014 racing the NW Cup series on a shop team organized by Western Bikeworks' current store manager, Raul Atencio. My first season was a success with a few Cat 2 podiums and the overall series win. The next year I moved up to Cat 1 where I rode to a race win and other podium finishes. After that I had the opportunity to quit my job and travel for a couple years (including lots of riding in new locations!) and I took a break from racing. This summer I returned to the NW race scene.

Bikes have always played an important role in my life and some of my earliest memories revolve around learning to ride and the freedom of pedaling off to explore what's out there. Over the years I got better on the bike and I started to think I was fast. My riding buddies talked about fun weekends at the races and I started joining them for the friendly competition and to see if I was actually fast. Turns out I was fast enough to do well in my class but learned quickly just how fast the pros and other top guys are. I don't think I'll make it to that level, but they're sure fun to watch and learn from!

What does your training routine look like and how do you prepare best for a race?

For me, bikes and racing are about fun, the community, and spending days outside riding so my training involves as much bike time as possible. Downhill shuttle laps make for a good time but lately I've been enjoying long backcountry rides where you're out on the bike for 5 to 6 or more hours in the mountains. In my opinion, long rides with big descents translate well to racing as your body is well-conditioned to being on the bike. During the season I try to get out for one or two after work rides per week and take advantage of my lunch break to run or workout.

Race preparation always involves making sure my bike is working properly and will perform as expected. I'm meticulous about bike set-up and spend plenty of time making sure everything is as I want it. When it comes to race time, I focus on staying relaxed and don't let the pressure build to where you can't manage it. I'd be lying if I said I don't get butterflies in my stomach while lined up in the start gate, but at the end of the day, it's all about fun.

What bike are you currently racing on?

I'm currently racing everything on my Norco Range Carbon 29er as it's my only mountain bike other than a winter hardtail. This season, I rode it to 3 podium finishes at the NW Cup downhill series and a decent result at my debut PIR Short Track XC race.

Tips for winter training?

On bike time certainly decreases for me in the winter, but I replace it with plenty of skiing, both alpine and ski touring in the backcountry. Skiing, especially in the trees, is very complimentary to mountain biking except you have limitless options, not just one defined trail down the mountain. Other than that, I like to stay fit, running when the weather allows, bodyweight training and core workouts, stretching, light yoga, and not too many holiday treats!

Have you set your goals for next year, if so, what are they?

Next year I'd like to continue expanding my bike horizons. I'll race Cat 1 in the NW Cup so podium results will be more challenging, but it will be a great race class with plenty of friends and strong riders. I plan to enter some enduro races, hopefully the Cascadia Dirt Cup as I've heard a lot of great things about it. I bought my first road bike this year primarily for commuting, but enjoy how much distance I'm able to cover on it. I don't anticipate competing in road events, but would like to try some long rides and see where it goes from there!

Shop Carlisle's top equipment and apparel picks HERE.